LINCOLN, NE. – The Omaha Lancers started off their three-game weekend full of travel, on the road as they paid the Lincoln Stars a visit. The Lancers are 3-2-1-0 against their arch-rivals this season, with the most recent matchup back on February 20th resulting in a 4-3 regulation win for the Stars as Joe Lemay netted a last second goal to knock off the Lancers.
The Stars are eager to even up the series with Omaha as they are one of the hottest teams in the western conference, coming into tonight (3/11) 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 games.
The Lancers on the other hand are looking to trim the gap between them and third place in the west to just one point, as the Stars currently hold that position.
The first period had a very slow start for Omaha as they found themselves down 2-0 in the opening 3:18 of the game.
Aiden Thompson, the point leader for the Stars struck first just 53 seconds in, with a beautiful shot that went top shelf on Omaha goaltender, Kevin Pasche. Lincoln Captain, Dalton Norris picked up the assist on that one.
That was followed up by a play set up by Brennan Ali and Dalton Norris leading to a bouncing puck in the slot, in which Yu Sato batted home to take the early 2-0 lead with still over 16 minutes remaining in the opening period.
At that point in time, the Lancers were being outshot 7-0. But the tides began to turn for the remainder of the first period.
After evening up the shot count, Jared Wright found the back of the net off passes from Michael Cameron and Riley Rosenthal to cut the lead in half and make it a 2-1 game. A stretch pass from Rosenthal found Cameron in the neutral zone, who then chipped it along to Wright in the attacking end. Wright made a nice move down low and slipped one by Lincoln goaltender, Kaiden Mbereko, making it a one goal game, in which they took into the intermission.
First period shot count was 11-9 in favor of Omaha.
The second period was definitely an interesting one for Omaha.
The Lancers were the only team to find the back of the net as Frank D’Ancona netted his third goal of the season as Chris Hedden pawed down a clear out attempt by the Stars, moved it cross-ice to Tanner Rowe, who then found D’Ancona on the backdoor to tie the game 2-2.
As the second period concluded with a 2-2 tie, the Lancers’ penalty kill really got a workout. Going 5/5 in the second period alone, put them short-handed for half of the 20 minutes of play.
Luckily, 11 saves from Pasche kept the Stars silent throughout the period, allowing his team to tie the game up, and hopefully give them an offensive push through the start of the third period.
The third period started off with Michael Cameron picking up a loose puck at the attacking blue line and scoring on the breakaway while shorthanded to take the early 3-2 lead in the third.
That was followed up about eight minutes later as Antonio Fernandez scored top shelf through traffic while on the man-advantage it lock the game at three goals a side. Carter Schade and Aiden Thompson scooped up assists on that one.
But, just 62 seconds later, Matt Romer found Chris Hedden exiting the defensive zone. Hedden carried it end-to-end and netted a knuckle ball shot by the blocker of Mbereko to net the game winner and make it a 4-3 game.
The Lancers are now just one point out of third place as they sit in fourth place in the western conference, still trailing the Lincoln Stars.
The Lancers will be back in action tomorrow, March 12th as they take on the Waterloo Black Hawks at Young Arena. That game can be caught on HockeyTV and Mixlr.